I am an organ recitalist, specialising in early music. As well as my organ performances, writing has always been part of my musical activities. I have written many articles on organ topics and early music as well as a little book ‘The Performance of Early Organ Music’ (recently re-printed). For 20 years, until its demise, I was the principal concert and organ CD reviewer for Early Music Review magazine, alongside freelance reviewing in specialist early music and organ magazines.
This review website first went public on 1 April 2015. Since then it has received more than 41,000 hits from over 100 countries. Although it mainly covers early music concerts and CDs, it also allows me to venture into wider musical fields. I am avoiding the temptation to include those irritating money-making adverts, pop-ups, or cookies.
Although I retain copyright in all these reviews, I am happy for anybody to quote from them, as long as I am properly acknowledged and the link to the full review is given. Please feel free to pass on reviews on social media. I welcome comments and suggestions, as well as invitations to review – you can email me at ajbw(at)hotmail.com. As with my past reviewing for Early Music Review, I want to try to encourage young musicians as much as I can.
As for my organ playing, this is an extract from a recent recital programme note –
Andrew Benson-Wilson specialises in the performance of early organ music, ranging from 14th century manuscripts to the late Classical period. His playing is informed by experience of historic organs, understanding of period performance techniques and several internationally renowned teachers. The first of his two CDs of the complete Tallis organ works (with Chapelle du Roi) was Gramophone Magazine ‘Record of the Month’. The Organists’ Review commented that his “understanding of the historic English organ and its idiom is thorough, and the beautifully articulated, contoured result here is sufficient reason for hearing this disk. He is a player of authority in this period of keyboard music”. A review of his 2016 performance of Weckmann’s monumental ‘Es is das Heil’ at St George’s, Hanover Sq noted that “The performance had a confident and assured touch of someone who understood the musical style. His clarity of counterpoint allied to the programme notes helped the listener to identify the processes and individual lines of the music”.
Andrew’s concerts have ranged from the enormous 1642 Festorgel organ in Klosterneburg Abbey in Austria to a tiny 1668 chamber organ in a medieval castle in Croatia – via St John’s, Smith Square. According to one reviewer, his St John’s, Smith Square recital was ” one of the most rewarding organ recitals heard in London in years – an enthralling experience”. More recent concerts include the 1723 Hildebrandt organ in Störmthal, Leipzig (where Bach gave the opening recital) and the famous 1558 Ebert organ in Innsbruck’s Hofkirche.
Andrew is a regular writer on early music and organ topics. His little book, “The Performance of Early Organ Music” is used as a required text in a number of Universities. After 20 years as the principal reviewer for Early Music Review magazine, Andrew has now set up his own review website: andrewbensonwilson.org/.
Some extracts from live recitals can be found on http://soundcloud.com/andrew-benson-wilson. I will occasionally post information about my own organ concerts, but my UK recitals can also usually also be found on organrecitals.com/abw. The covers of my two Tallis CDs are pictured below. More details here and here.